The Ron Finley Project, Black Food Justice, U.S. Climate Action Network!

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

The Ron Finley Project, Black Food Justice, U.S. Climate Action Network!



About a year ago, The Climate Daily spotlighted LA’s own Ron Finley—known for making food gardening revolutionary. Today, we’re going to spotlight his non-profit, the Ron Finley Project. Its motto is, “Gardening is Gangsta.” Ron Finley in Los Angeles has been at the forefront of urban gardening for years. He sees gardening as both therapeutic and an act of defiance, saying, “Growing your own food is like printing your own money. It’s not just about food, it’s about freedom. It’s our revolution, and our eco-lution.”

Finley grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where he says he had to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato. In 2010, he started his food revolution by planting his South Central neighborhood parkways; those often neglected dirt patches next to our streets. He planted some vegetables there. Soon after he was cited for gardening without a permit by the apparent owners of those dirt patches: the City of Los Angeles. He started a petition with fellow green activists, and demanded the right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood. 

The Ron Finley Project’s vision is “A world where people know nutrition and where it comes from. Where all ages embrace the act of growing, knowing and sharing the best of the earth’s fresh-grown food.” As he said recently in an interview with the NY Post, Finley said, “The drive-thru is killing more people in our communities than the drive-by. I want people to come back to reality, to touch the soil and take back some of the things that have been taken away. When you plant a seed, it will multiply. It’s a currency. It’s a valuable resource. That’s empowering. It’s about more than food.”

Why does the Ron Finley Project matter to us? Because it’s teaching communities how to transform food deserts into food sanctuaries, and teaching individuals how to regenerate their lands into creative business models. In the era of Climate Change and increasing food insecurity, the ability to grow food hyper locally is rapidly becoming much more critical. IOW, if you control your food, you control your future.

DEEPER DIVE: Ron Finley Project, NY Post, Ron Finley Video, Plant Some Money



The National Black Food and Justice Alliance, aka Black Food Justice is a coalition of Black-led organizations aimed at developing Black leadership, supporting Black communities, organizing for Black self-determination, and building institutions for Black food sovereignty & liberation. The Alliance seeks to achieve this by engaging in broad based coalition organizing for Black food and land, increasing visibility of Black-led narratives and work, advancing Black-led visions for just and sustainable communities, and building capacity for self-determination within our local, national, and international food systems and land rights work.

Why does Black Food Justice matter to us? Aside from the fact that NBJFA focuses on Black food sovereignty, self-determining food economies, and land? Because it helped found the Lola Hampton-Frank Pinder Center for Agroecology at Florida A&M University, an historically black university in Tallahassee, FL.

That center is in response and under the tutelage of Blackademics, the research arm of NBFJA comprised of academic and research partners, a critical need has been identified for an institution – an agroecological hub – to grow and expand practices, develop innovative solutions, and provide cross-institutional support for our land grant institutions and future generations of land stewards to carry forward the food system and climate resilience our communities need and deserve.The group approaches food sovereignty, land and self-determining food economies through the lens of healing.

DEEPER DIVE: National Black Food & Justice Alliance, Soul Fire Farm, Gangsta to Growers



The U.S. Climate Action Network is a network of organizations active on climate change. Its mission is to build trust and alignments among members to fight climate change in a just and equitable way. Its vision: a powerful, inclusive, and trusting network of US organizations who worked together to meet the global goals in the Paris Climate Agreement and exceed the US targets outlined in that agreement.

USCAN has been around for 28 years. During that time, it’s grown to an organization of over 190 members, all united by its theory of change, that in order to develop a movement strong enough to meet the challenge of climate change, we must remain connected and united by our common goals to reduce US greenhouse gas pollution, to increase climate preparedness, to inspire the United States’ positive leadership in international forums to secure equitable, effective climate policies, and to support on-the-ground implementation of climate solutions.

This is rooted in the belief that its network members must double down on democracy and relationships in order to pursue our shared goals. Our inside game and our outside game members must be in relationships with each other and coordinate in areas where they decide that working together will enable us to meet the network’s vision. 

Why does USCAN matter to us? USCAN is an affiliate network of the Climate Action Network International (CAN), a worldwide network of more than 1500 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 130 countries working to promote government, private sector and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.